A leader of the Vaddi caste from Prattikollalanka village in the Kolleru lake becoms victim of social boycott

Ghantasala Mahalakshmi Raju, a leader of the Vaddi caste panchayat from Prattikollalanka village in the Kolleru lake area himself reportedly became victim of social boycott, an age-old custom in practice within the community for several generations. The caste leaders keep running a parallel government within the community by resorting to the extra-legal practice of social boycott with heavy penalties against ‘wrong doers’. Interestingly, the community leaders called ‘kula peddalu’ hold praja darbars, trying the wrong-doers, play the jury and then turn executors of the judgment, all in one. The persons subjected to the boycott are prohibited to receive help from the fellow community members as per the diktat.

In a case of reversal of roles, members of the Vaddi caste men forced their leader Mr. Raju and his family members out of the village a few months back on the charge of committing a fraud in apportioning of the proceeds generated from fishponds in the form of annual lease within the community. It was followed by a raid on his house at the village which was subjected to vandalism. Interestingly, the Revenue and the Police authorities ‘advised’ the caste leader to stay away from the village until the public anger died down.

However, Mr. Mahalakshmi Raju has made a dramatic appearance at the village on Monday seeking help from the district administration for his safe passage with the strength of High Court orders. His re-entry triggered wild protests in the community, leading to posting a police picket at the village. The city DSP Satti Babu visited the village and took stock of the latest law and order situation. Meanwhile, a large number of fishermen from the village came to the Collectorate for a massive demonstration seeking the administration to send their leader away from the village in line with their boycott call until he paid the swindled; money back to the villagers. The official machinery, found itself on a sticky wicket.

The village with over 1,000 households located in the midst of the Kolleru lake continued to be in the grip of caste elders unlike any other Vaddi habitation in and around the lake till recently. Most of the community members rebelled against their community leader Mr. Raju, accusing him of swindling over Rs. 10 crore collected from the leaseholders of fishponds which was supposed to have been equally shared among all the male members of the village.